Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin, Wiley-Academy 2005
The technologically expanded and strengthened eye today penetrates deep into matter and space, and enables man to cast a simultaneous look on the opposite sides of the globe. The experiences of space and time have become fused into each other by speed[…], and as a consequence we are witnessing a distinct reversal of the two dimensions -a temporalisation of space and a spatialisation of time. The only sense that is fast enough to keep pace with the astounding increase of speed in the technological world is sight. But the world of the eye is causing us to live increasingly in a perpetual present, flattened by speed and simultaneity.
Perhaps, freed of the implicit desire of the eye for control and power, it is precisely the unfocused vision of our time that is again capable of opening up new realms of vision and thought. The loss of focus brought about by the stream of images may emancipate the eye from its patriarchal domination and give rise to a participatory and empathetic gaze. The technological extensions of the senses have until now reinforced the primacy of vision, but the new technologies may also help ‘the body[…] to dethrone the disinterested gaze of the disincarnated Cartesian spectator’.
Sensory experience become integrated through the body, or rather, in the very constitution of the body and the human mode of being.[…] Our bodies and movements are in constant interaction with the environment; the world and the self inform and redefine each other constantly. The percept of the body and the image of the world turn into one single continuous existential experience; there is no body separate from its domicile in space, and there is no space unrelated to the unconscious image of the perceiving self.
A walk through a forest is invigorating and healing due to the constant interaction of all sense modalities. […] The eye collaborates with the body and other senses. One’s sense of reality is strengthened and articulated by this constant interaction.
The forest enfolds us in its multisensory embrace. The multiplicity of peripheral stimuli effectively pull us into the reality of its space.